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Randy Wayne White

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CONTOUR 2008

Letter from the Publisher

Contour 2008 coverThe day before this issue of Contour went to press, I received an e-mail from an editor at Outside, one of the nation's premier travel/adventure magazines. Outside receives several thousand applications a year for a limited number of internships, so I was surprised by his response. Sort of.

"We put so much responsibility on interns that we want them have experience in the professional world [to prove] they are mature enough, committed to journalism, and won't mess-up a huge opportunity like an internship at Outside."

The editor shared the magazine's sensible guidelines: Applicants must have a bachelor degree. Applicants must have a year or more of professional experience, Applications from under-graduates are not accepted. A six month commitment is required..

Then the editor added, "But we might make an exception for your students from Colorado College. In fact, we might consider creating a special summer internship for your students."

Surprising? Sort of, as I said.

This issue of Contour is proof that the fourteen Colorado College students who wrote, edited, photographed and designed this magazine are exceptional. It is proof they are sufficiently committed, mature, and professional to accomplish what few paid professionals would attempt: envision, construct and produce a quality
magazine in twenty-three days.

That's right – twenty-three days. Eighteen working days, if you care about punching a time clock. If these incredibly talented students had balked at working over-time, this magazine wouldn't exist.

"Twenty-three days?" a prominent magazine editor said to me. "Impossible."

No, not with staff you see listed on this magazine's masthead. (It's probably the most gifted, and dedicated group I've worked with.)

The rumor that Colorado College students can do the impossible is spreading.

This is the fourth year I've taught "Creative Magazine Writing" -- a deceptively, benign name for a course that is actually an on-the-job, make-it-up-as-you-go, publishing, trial-by-fire in which only the strong are edited, and the weak are rejected along the way.

It's a professional writing level course that can work only on the block system. It is a course that, I am convinced, can work only with students who are exceptionally motivated – and gifted.

That's why magazines such as Outside are willing (eager, in fact) to give CC students special consideration.

— Randy Wayne White